Voices from Russia

Sunday, 7 August 2016

7 August 2016. Adventures in Translation Land… Y’all Come and Be Welcome!

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Literally, “Милости прошу к нашему шалашу!” means “Ask grace upon our humble hut”, or more idiomatically, “Welcome to our humble abode!” This is idiomatic colloquial Russian at its best. It’s always informal and jocular, usually used as a cheerful invitation to share a meal. In English, the direct equivalents would be “Y’all come and be welcome”, “The door’s open wide, do step inside”, and “Sit a spell and take a load off your feet”. Translation is an art, not a science… it’s NEVER boring…

One last thing… the image is a pot of Ukha… the famous Russian fish soup, best made with freshly-caught fish from one’s own hand over a fire at camp at the lakeside in the shade…

BMD

Saturday, 9 July 2016

9 July 2016. Further Adventures in Translation Land

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The literal translation of Не лей колу в рот! Выпей бабушкин компот! is “Don’t put cola in your mouth! Drink Grandma’s Compote!” is just jangly and no damned good as a catchy jingle (as it is in Russian). Therefore, my Englishing of this sentiment is:

Don’t drink cola; it’s bad.

It just drags you down!

Drink Baba’s Kompot, it’s cool.

You can beat the whole town!

That, I think, expresses exactly what the original poster had in mind. THAT’S what translation is all about… getting the essential idea from one language into another… yes, sometimes things do “get lost in translation”, and the brevity of this was one such…

BMD

Update 22.15 9 July 2016:

A friend sent me the following:

Don’t drink cola; it just drags you down!

Drink Baba’s Kompot; it’s the best in town!

Why didn’t I think of that one? God has blessed me with friends, not with money… which makes me very rich, indeed…

BMD

Friday, 24 June 2016

24 June 2016. Leopold the Cat on the Unity of Holy Rus

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Leopold the Cat is one of the most beloved Sov-era multifilm characters. He’s as much a part of Russian visual culture as Taz and Bugs Bunny are in the USA. The original text used the word дпужно (druzhno), which has strong overtones of “friendship”, as “together” and “friendship” in Russian have common building-blocks. That is, дпужно implies much more than “togetherness” to a Russian, it brings up images of fraternity and brotherhood, due to its similarity to the word for “friendship”. So, it’s not “let’s live together”… it’s closer to “let’s live as one”, so that’s the rendering I chose to bring the meaning home to an English-speaker.

BMD

Sunday, 13 March 2016

13 March 2016. From the Russian Web… DIG RIGHT IN!

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Pitfalls await the unwary translator at every turn… literally, “Щи и каша, пища наша” (“Shchi i kasha, pishcha nasha”) is “Shchi and kasha, that’s our food”. That not only doesn’t rhyme, it has none of the “flavour” and “savour” of the Russian original. I’d say that its idiomatic English equivalent is, “Kasha and shchi, that’s for me!” That not only rhymes, it restores some of the original’s “taste”…

Be careful… “false friends” and false cognates abound… so, do have a care for the MEANING and the FLAVOUR of the language…

BMD

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